Black Ban Remains On Philippines – Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang

On the anniversary of the hostage disaster that took place in Manila involving Chinese tourists a strong stance has come from Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang stating “Philippine authorities (have yet) to take effective measures to protect the personal safety of Hong Kong tourists and restore people’s confidence in the local tourism, (that’s) when (we) will consider adjusting the black travel warning," read an English translation of Tsang’s Chinese-language blog entry.

Donald Tsang said he continues to seek justice for the victims, adding he wants to "trace the truth" of what happened on Aug. 23 last year.

The hostage disaster was televised round the world and led to the death of eight tourists from Hong Kong as well as dismissed Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza who had taken them hostage. The hostage rescue was and still is an embarrassment to the Philippines due to it being a complete cock up on live television and the result of many deaths.

Ronald Mendoza had been fired and demanded reinstatement as a PNP officer after he was removed from his post.

The incident forced Hong Kong to impose a black travel warning for all its travellers to the Philippines which currently only has the Philippines and Syria on its list. The Philippines has been listed as a "severe threat".

Donald Tsang wrote in his blog Aug 23rd that last year was a day of sorrow, with eight people killed and many others suffering physical and mental trauma.

"Although the incident has been a year (ago), people did not (forget). We often miss … the deceased in the hope that they rest in peace, and wish the injured a speedy recovery, (and that) family members and survivors (can get) out of the shadows as soon as possible," he said.

He went on to say that the Hong Kong government had exhausted many means to urge the Philippine government to actively investigate the incident and do remedial work, including comforting the survivors and families of the deceased, and regularly publishing the results of incident investigation, and punishing the officials involved.

With Hong Kong digging its heels in and it unlikely a proper investigation will ever be resolved I cannot see any lowering of the black travel warning for some time.